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©February 2001

Carol Jane Remsburg



His Name is Dave








His name is "Dave" and he arrives every other Tuesday evening at my house like clockwork.  Some nights he's early and sometimes he's late, but he always arrives with a smile along with lots of patience.  He's our Schwan's® man.


Living in a spot of rural America, I'm not sure how far an area the Schwan's® company covers—but I think it's pretty far—the east coast at the very least.  There are many drivers out there but few like Dave, he is a true gent who knows when he can make a sale and when he won't.


Within his truck is an amazing array of items from ice cream to filet mignon—you just need to know which to choose and what is best for you.  Most of his offerings are high quality and most of it is pricey because he brings it to you.  Still, it's a nice convenience and when it's Dave bringing the goods then it's all the better. 


Often Dave brings a new recruit/trainee with him.  Those recruits have been to their classes and know only how to push and push and push.  Considering that I also work in sales, getting pushy with me is like walking up to a nuclear warhead and whacking the detonator with a sledgehammer—not something you want do and ever see daylight again. 


Two weeks ago Dave brought one of those trainees with him.  For Dave's sake and my own sanity, we simply exchanged glances.  I sighed, looked Dave squarely in the eye again and asked him that if I purchased those hotwings that the new boy was trying to gag me with, if said boy would hush up.  I bought them and said boy hushed up.  I was as polite as I could be after a long banter of jabber I didn't need simply because I may be Dave's best customer on this route—don't push me and I'll buy.  I know what I need and sometimes I don't need anything and I'll meet him at the truck and save him the time.  But still . . . don't PUSH me. 


Dave knows all this and he was cringing.  Actually I was cringing for him.  We had a good laugh over that tonight when he arrived sans any trainees.  Many companies are good at training but often they go over the top.  They never learned that a happy customer is not one who is PUSHED into purchasing something they don't want or aren't sure of.  I don't need to be asked 3-4 times if I want a certain something.  They should realize this leads to "avoidance conditioning" which will kill nearly all future sales as the customer stops answering their door due to simply dread.


Now those hotwings are things I'll normally buy every couple of months because they are used—either at home or taken to work for a company feed.  The hotwings are great, they really are, but the question was did I already have two bags of them out in the freezer?  Did I need any more at the moment?  That's my decision, not Mr. Trainee's.  So this would be a no-brainer—had Dave mentioned it, I would have bought it because Dave doesn't push—he mentions and allows me to make up my own mind.


Now Dave is a natural born salesman.  He's a very sweet fellow with a charming smile and an understated style.  I'll bet he's got half the ladies on his route anxious for his arrival.  He's a gentleman.  With so few of those left in this world, he's a hot commodity.  They'd buy sand from him if they lived in the desert.  He's a great guy and we swap stories.  I know he's gotta a job to do and I do my best to make sure that when he stops at my house and has to get out of his truck that it's worth his while—that's his livelihood.  I understand that all too well.  I also know that time is money and try my best to make his stops quick because he won't get home until late.


Dave's hours begin by 7 AM and often he doesn’t see home until well after 10 PM.  Those are long hours by any standard and if you have to stop at every turn for folks that only want a ½ gallon of ice cream then you aren't making any money.  Now, if you buy ice cream along with a few pizzas, some shrimp, fish, steaks, burgers, and stuffed potatoes then it might be worth his stop.  He works hard for his money.


So, Dear Schwan's® Company, please, a note to the trainers—let Dave teach them all they need to know.  He'll "learn them right" and how to behave and your coffers will be the richer for it.  Just don't take him away from his current route—I'd stop buying from you.


Thanks Dave!


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